By 11:30 a.m. Saturday, roughly 75 people lined up outside Martin House Brewing Co. in Fort Worth. Of course, there was. The adventurous brewery — picturesquely positioned along the west fork of the Trinity River with an up-close view of the downtown skyline — unveiled what might be the most talked about beer of 2019 in North Texas last week when six-packs of its new Best Maid Sour Pickle Beer hit a few shelves.
The green pickle jar-styled six-packs reportedly didn’t last long, so it stood to reason that by the time the brewery opened at noon, the line of pickle-loving patrons had grown into the hundreds, stretching far down East 4th Street, well past the river fork.
These are the interestingly flavored times we live in, it seems.
Another popular, limited edition brew with a less-than-traditional construction, Lakewood Brewing’s Peanut Butter Temptress, also saw its initial shipment to many local bottle shops exhausted rather quickly before restocking.
Noted local beer authority Brian Brown, of the excellent Beer in Big D website, confirmed the current craze by tweeting, “Also, peanut butter & pickles … that’s what is trending in the North Texas beer scene right now …”
We’re not sure if he approves of the trending topics or not, but it’s clear many wholeheartedly do. And, as we’re happy to report, for good reason.
Employing its popular Salty Lady gose as the base, Martin House adds Best Maid pickle juice after the base beer is fermented.
For nearly a century, Best Maid has been a beloved Fort Worth brand. In a much shorter time span, the same can be said of Martin House. In 2011, Dallas Cowboys star Jason Witten made headlines when he endorsed a pickle juice sports drink, so perhaps this progression is long overdue?
Once inside the Martin House grounds, we were handed a pickle jar beer glass that was quickly filled with the brew of honor. At a chuggable 5.5% ABV, bright, briny wafts of dill pleasantly greeted the nose before the salty slurp balanced it all out for a piquant yet clean finishing sip.
With temps skipping past 90 degrees, it was refreshing. The quirky nature of the pickle beer gave way to the functional utility of a crisp quencher in the unforgiving swelter.
That Martin House crafted a sour beer with proportional amounts of well-defined flavor and pucker isn’t surprising. Just a few weeks ago, four-packs of its Drive-In Sour series capably made oddball flavors such as orange dreamsicle and blue coconut feel downright traditional thanks to the expert blending of zany and straightforward.
For this special launch event, the brewery tapped five additional varieties of the pickle beer. If the highly spicy bloody mary variant featured any pickle juice, we couldn’t tell thanks to the heat.
When asked what bloody mary elements, other than the pepper heat, were featured in the brew, the person wearing a Martin House polo pouring ours simply said, “Yeah, I don’t know actually.” There was also an “Xtreme hot” version available, but we didn’t test that one.
Similar to the bloody mary sample, if there were any pickle juice in the “Xtreme sour,” it was difficult to detect. Also refreshing, it also wasn’t terribly sour, given the name.
As the afternoon rolled on, the lines snaking from the two tents pouring the special pickle varieties grew rather unmanageable. Instead of testing out the jalapeño bread-n-butter or sea salt chips versions, we opted for another glass full of the Best Maid Sour Pickle, which we enjoyed just as much the second time as we had an hour before.
Try this seasonal pickle beer for yourself from stores or at the brewery.
Martin House Brewing Company, 220 S. Sylvania Ave., #209, Fort Worth
Want more of Martin House Brewing's beers? Come try them at BrewFest Sept. 7.
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